BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Nov 21st, 2009 •

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I know Bambi lost her mother, so seeing parental figures die isn’t new to animated features, but I’ve never seen the evolution from childhood to old age depicted so lovingly and honestly, ending with the wife dying, leaving her devoted husband alone. I found that pretty experimental, and I haven’t read accounts of how children took it. Me, I cried at the end of act one. So did other adults I know.

Act two is rescued from the doldrums not by the old man’s liberating adventure, which in itself is a vital concept, showing children that the elderly have dreams and stamina (an idea they can see taken to an extreme in GRAN TORINO), but by the wondrously drawn characterization of Dug, the friendly, talking dog. What a brilliant idea. I would have loved to have been there when they thought that one up. And Act Three, when the old explorer shows his true, ugly colors, was a very nice turn. It’s a special film, and one of the year’s best. The BluRay edition also includes a DVD, practically equally sublime, as well as a digital copy.

Ditto the supplementals. A 22-minute ‘making of’ doc, CINE-EXPLORE, shows the animation team’s live action footage as they travel to Venezuela, to the Tepuis – bizarre mesas with sheer cliffs and natural rock sculptures on top, near Santa Elena de Vairen. The intrepid group, among them Directors Pete Docter and Bob Peterson, Story Supervisor Ronnie Del Carmen, Art Director Bryn Imagire and Naturalist Adrian Warren, whose documentaries had alerted them to these hidden wonders, climb one of these obscure natural wonders, and later are transported to another by helicopter. We see them transform what they are witnessing to storyboards, three-dimensional models, and backgrounds for their narrative. It’s a wonderful Disney adventure doc, with little bursts of simple animation to explain things, just the like the Disney shorts of old.

Likewise a much shorter supplement, showing the team at work trying to decide how to kill Muntz off at the end. One version is straight out of THE SHINING, which they acknowledge. We’re privy to their thinking, and that’s a fun insight into the workings of the personable group.

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2 Responses »

  1. I am very surprised you did not mention the homage to Spencer Tracy the producers and director did with Carl’s character. Just looking at his animated figure brought back Tracy in his twilight years in Judgement at Nuremberg, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. I also felt the life-long love story between Carl and Ellie was also a nod to the relationship Tracy had with Katherine Hepburn, since the storyline is a throw-back to an film you might have seen in the 1940’s. Or maybe that is just me holding back the tears and the lump in my throat.

  2. i think that this movie is brilliant for kids. they loved it!

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